News from Hepatitis Week of Jan. 19, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 03

Roche Lowers Price of Copegus for Hepatitis C

Roche is rolling back the price of its hepatitis C treatment Copegus (ribavirin) used in combination with Pegasys (peginterferon) to 1998 levels.

Copegus will now cost $5.06 per 200 mg tablet or significantly less than the $11.04 per tablet that Schering-Plough charges for its ribavirin treatment Rebetol. A patient prescribed 1200mg of ribavirin per day would save about $7,600 over the course of 48 weeks of therapy.

Roche's lower price will bring the 48-week cost of its combination treatment to $30,000, compared to $37,600 for Schering's Peg-Intron and Rebetol. A spokesperson with Schering declined to comment when asked if it would match or beat Roche's price.

Pegasys and Copegus combination therapy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on December 3, 2002 for adults with compensated liver disease who have not previously been treated with interferon alpha. Roche said Copegus would be available in U.S. pharmacies beginning the week of January 13.

Other sources: Roche